Federated Farmers agrees with the proposal that the Mycoplasma bovis eradication programme moves to come under a National Pest Management Plan, with OSPRI as the administrator.
But the Federation says shifting it from the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) must include extra steps to help OSPRI overcome some of its “current weaknesses”.
With the cattle disease now contained to just one known infected dairy farm in Selwyn, partners in the cross-sector eradication effort see synergies in running the M bovis Programme alongside the OSPRI-administered National Animal Identification & Tracing (NAIT) and the TBFree Programme.
MPI has said there is potential for up to $15 million of savings across the three programmes, and the shift of administration of the M bovis programme comes with the promise of a reduced National Plan levy on farmers to finance the rest of its work.
In its submission to MPI, Feds said OSPRI is the best organistion to deliver of the level of integration needed.
“In essence, farmers need a one stop shop for data input and similarly, in the event of a biosecurity incursion, there needs to be a single source of data for tracing purposes,” the submission said.
“However, given the continued delays in the development and release of a fully functioning electronic MyOspri system and other missteps in the rollout of the NAIT system we do have a level concern about OSPRI having enough resources and suitably qualified people in its current form to expand into a third major programme.”
Federated Farmers said OSPRI must be given ability to second expertise from MPI, other government departments and farming organisations; there needs to be a review of OSPRI governance; there needs to be sufficient funding for them to be able to offer competitive salaries when recruiting for the new programme, and support to complete the fully functional electronic MyOspri system without further delays.
When that system is complete, most professional farmers would be able to comply with the 15 rules incorporated in the M bovis Pest Management Plan proposal.
But that may well not be the case for some small farms/lifestyle blocks, with limited access to suitable infrastructure for rapidly mustering, yarding, handling and restraint of cattle. Federated Farmers said the programme would need to investigate providing portable yards and cattle restraints.
Provided a robust and transparent system to identify at-risk properties is put in place, Federated Farmers said it agreed with the proposed additional biosecurity measures on high-risk properties, including ineligibility for compensation where there is a failure to comply with the National Plan procedures.
Federated Farmers, New Zealand’s leading independent rural advocacy organisation, has established a news and insights partnership with AgriHQ, the country’s leading rural publisher, to give the farmers of New Zealand a more informed, united and stronger voice. Feds news and commentary appears each week in its own section of the Farmers Weekly print edition and online.